Eco-friendly toothbrushes from World Centric

When my first son was born, back in 2003, I was definitely concerned about safety and buying products that were going to be safe for him, but I never really thought about where these products would end up when we were done with them.

BPA-free plastics are safer for my children, which is important, for sure, but I have no idea if these plastics are safer for the environment, once they end up in the recycling bin.

Now that my youngest son is nearly two, I’m learning more about eco-friendly products that are not made out of plastics at all, like these new toothbrushes we received from World Centric.

Dentists recommend we replace our toothbrushes every 3-4 months, which means, for my family of four, we’re consuming 12 toothbrushes each year, on average. One per month goes into the recycling bin but until I learned about World Centric, I never really thought about this.

Not only do they make toothbrushes, but they also make plates, cups for hot and cold liquids, straws, and trash bags, to name a few.

World Centric makes compostable products made from sugar cane fiber, corn & wheat straw. They’re made from plants, not petroleum, which means they’re non-polluting, non-toxic and environmentally responsible.

What’s even more exciting about this company, based in Palo Alto, is that they are helping to introduce the next generation to these products as well. World Centric provides five-compartment cafeteria-trays to schools in their effort to eliminate Styrofoam all together.

Additionally, World Centric donates 25% of their before-tax profits to social and environmental grassroots organizations while offering discounts to schools and non-profits. They also offer custom designs on their products so small businesses that care about the environment can use them as well. I wonder if Starbucks will ever take part in this initiative.

So, back to the toothbrushes. I replaced my own, my husband’s and my oldest son’s with these new ones from World Centric. I personally fell in love with the thick handle and my son, who has braces, claims the toothbrush works better than the ones he’s been “receiving” from the dentist each time we go. Now, if only we can get the dentist’s office involved in this grass-roots effort as well.

Check out World Centric for more information and resources to learn ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, one meal, or one toothbrush at a time.

Oh, and one more thing, they’re not any more expensive than the toothbrushes you’ll find at the store. A three-pack of their adult-size toothbrushes are just under $12.00 so my recommendation would be to buy a few of these at a time to stock up. Before you know it, it’ll be time to replace them once again.

ESPN commemorates the legendary Rolling Stones

Monday Night Football is always big at our house, but then again, any day football is on is a big deal. ESPN is pretty much the only reason we have cable and it seems as though that’s always the channel that’s on, whether the kids are awake or not.

The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and ESPN is celebrating along with them.

ESPN will commemorate the The Rolling Stones’ 50thAnniversary on Monday nights throughout the National Football League season this fall with “Legend to Legend,” a unique collaboration with the Universal Music Group that will combine Monday Night Football highlights with classic tracks from the legendary band featuring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.

ESPN is licensing 16 Rolling Stones tracks, spanning the early 1970’s release of Exile on Main St. through the mid 2000’s A Bigger Bang. The songs will be a mix of popular hits and deep cuts, including “It’s Only Rock’n Roll”, “Hot Stuff” and “One Hit (To the Body)”. Four different songs will be selected per month and will be used for four weeks at a time on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pregame show (6:30 p.m. ET), on bumpers and teases within the Monday Night Football game (8:30 p.m.), and in a post-MNF game highlight segment on SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship highlights, news and information show.

“Legend to Legend” will debut Monday, Sept. 10 when ESPN kicks off the 43rd season of Monday Night Football with two games at a special time: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (7 p.m.) and San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.). Countdown begins at 5 p.m. The schedule continues throughout ESPN’s 16-week NFL schedule, which concludes on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go update the players in my Fantasy Football leagues.

Have you hugged your frenemy today?

As an adult, I am able to separate myself from people who I don’t necessarily agree with or get along with.

I stand up to bullies by walking away, removing myself from the situation. Being bullied by my ex-husband one too many times is what finally led to our divorce.

But what happens when our kids are put in situations where someone is bullying them? On the playground or at school, we can’t always be there to step in, and depending on the age of our kids, they might not want us to step in or our getting involved might sometimes make things worse for them.

Unfortunately, my oldest son, now in third grade, has experienced bullying in many different situations and starting as early as Kindergarten. He still, to this day, remembers the first and last name of his “arch enemy” and even though they’re no longer at the same school, he reminds me all the time about this other little boy’s bad behavior. It’s been years and I can only hope the other boy has outgrown that ‘stage’ or has learned to handle himself and his feelings in a more appropriate way, but one never knows.

I work with and talk with parents of kids who are being bullied at different ages, and it always kills me to hear their stories. Many of the kids that do the bullying are even  considered their child’s friend.

Children come home from school only to break down in tears because of a situation that happened at recess, on the bus, or even in the classroom, when the teacher may not be close enough to see or hear what’s going on.

The good thing, if there is one, is that these parents are able to share these stories about their children’s experiences because their kids are able to talk about it with them. Sadly, I think there are many kids out there who do not have the confidence or the courage to speak up and bullying may go unreported for a while before an adult is finally able to get involved.

How do you handle this if you’re a parent? Have your kids been the victim of bullying behavior by someone who they consider a friend? Do you speak to the other child’s parents? Do you bring it up to the teacher or administration so they can address this in the classroom?

I would love to know how you may have handled this type of situation in the past or how you would respond if your child came home today and told you they were called names or had been bullied physically.

Just this past Monday, Labor Day, our family went to a local park where there were dozens of families enjoying the weather and kids of all ages were playing and climbing at the playground. Most of the kids were on their own without a parent nearby. As I watched my boys explore and climb, I heard a dad sternly say to his son, who was around 4, “That little boy pushed you? You need to go push him back.”

At first I thought he was joking, although I don’t think this is the type of thing to joke about, but I couldn’t believe I was actually hearing this and watching this take place. The man walked his son over to the other boy and demanded that his son push him back. The little boy hesitated and finally pushed the other boy, gently, after his dad insisted upon it again.

My first reaction to all this was, “Hell, no, you are not teaching your son to retaliate,” but then I paused and really wondered what I would do if someone physically hurt my son, on purpose.

My son is almost nine years old. Do I want him to “turn the other cheek” and walk away, or do I want my son to be able to have the confidence to defend himself and demand better?

I don’t think fighting is the answer here, at all, but I do wonder if those that grow up, especially young men, without the confidence or the strength to actually fight back, when they’re told they’re supposed to and are expected to retaliate, aren’t the ones who pick up weapons instead.

Register To Vote

As soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote. There’s nothing more important, in my opinion, than making sure your voice is heard and that you stand up to choose who you think would make the best leader for our country.

If you haven’t registered to vote yet, please do so now using the form below.

Every Vote Counts.

San Diego Mom’s Night Out

Ever since I became a parent, I’ve recognized how important it is to have schedule time to myself, date nights with my significant other and events on the calendar to look forward to that are designated as Adult Only time.

Scheduling a Mom’s Night Out is challenging when everyone has to juggle their family schedule and most likely find someone to watch the kids if dad isn’t around or available to step in.

A smart and savvy group of women began a quest last year to join forces with partnering companies to create a monthly event that brings moms together at different venues each time and in different parts of the county.

This October marks the 1 year anniversary for SD Moms Night Out and I’m thrilled to be a part of their big celebration.

If you haven’t been to an event put on by them, you should definitely come out for this one!

In celebration of the SD Mom’s Night Out 1 Year Anniversary and Halloween, we invite you to enjoy a night out at Kin Spa at Manchester Grand Hyatt as your fabulous self.

Where: Kin Spa at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
1 Market Place  San Diego, CA 92101
: Friday, October 26 from 7-10pm
: $40 Presale, $50 at the door
*$35 for the first 35 people who register!

The beneficiary for this event is Foundation for Women, a non-profit organization located in San Diego dedicated to eliminating global poverty through micro-credit loans.

To support this organization, a portion of each ticket you purchase will go to Amanda Taylor, a local single mom who is a member of the Foundation for Women.

They will also be selling coffee (Foundation for Women’s Micro Loan Blend) made from Women Entrepreneurs. All coffee proceeds will support our beneficiary. *Coffee will be distributed at the event and can be purchased online.

Tickets Include:

      • A donation to Amanda Taylor – Foundation for Women
      • Complimentary parking or Valet for $10 at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
      • Entrance to Kin Spa and pool deck at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
      • 3 raffle tickets
      • Opportunity to win prizes from our amazing sponsors including the Grand Prize of (1) Night Stay at Manchester Grand Hyatt and spa treatment for (2) at Kin Spa
      • Free flowing wine throughout the evening
      • Light appetizer fare
      • Complimentary indoor/outdoor spa services from Kin Spa
      • Special discounted menu for spa services purchased at the event
      • Kin Spa Swag Bags for the first 200 guests
      • Special Swag Bags for the first 50 guests
      • Discounted room rates for guests who want to stay overnight
      • A fabulous night out as YOURSELF!

If you are a business owner looking to reach the women attending this event, Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Check out the details on their website and email them your information. Please tell them you heard about the event from Happy Healthy Hip Parenting and we’ll see you in October.

Haute as Ever

The first weekend my husband and I spent together, when we first started dating, ended with a day at the Del Mar Racetrack. August 2009 – I’m pretty sure I blogged about it because we were at the Cool as Ever Tech event, mingling and socializing with our online friends – using our phones to ‘check-in’ on Foursquare…uploading photos to Twitpic and tagging photos on Facebook. Yeah, this was before Instagram.

In 2010, we didn’t end up attending the annual Cool as Ever Tech event since we had just gotten married and our long-distance relationship was being put to the ultimate challenge.

Now, just three years after that first event together at the Del Mar Racetrack, we’re going again. Just the two of us. This year, it’ll be quite different. They’ve changed the name and the audience for this event. But I think it’s the perfect combination.

With the Great Gatsby theme and gorgeous backdrops, like the one you see in their invitation to the left, this event is going to be pretty exciting!

Now, I just have to figure out what we’re going to wear!

Let’s go bowling!

My oldest son is in bowling camp this week so I thought it was quite fitting that National Bowling Day takes place over the weekend, when families around the country can go bowling for free at participating locations.

If you’d like to Go Bowling on August 11th with your family, head over to the official website and get your free coupon sent to your email. Those who sign up for this annual event will also be entered in a drawing for an iPad. Now that’s something to get excited about.

Enter your zip code into their “Find a Center” search field to locate the nearest participating bowling center near you.

New Ann Taylor store at Fashion Valley Mall

When I first received an email from San Diego Magazine asking me to participate in their launch event for the new Ann Taylor store at Fashion Valley Mall, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

After speaking with them over the phone, I was super excited that they invited me to be a part of their host committee. My name was included on the invitation and I was outfitted by Ann Taylor so I could show off their clothes during the event.

Kate Hamernik, Rory Hadley, Katie Dillon, Tonya Staab, Sondra Drahos

Perfect timing for me since I was badly needing an updated wardrobe. On the Monday before the event, I walked into the new Ann Taylor store and was immediately drawn to the bold colors and styles in their summer collection.

When I was told to select three different pieces for the event, I was thrilled. Not only did I try on over a dozen different tops, shorts, skirts and pants all together, but I was pleasantly surprised at the prices on the tags once I was ready to bring some new items home.

Katie Dillon, Erin Meanley, Megan Smith, Larry Alicia, Joyce Glazer, Francine Miley, Arlena Pordoy, Sondra Drahos

The event was great and many of my online friends showed up to hang out and have drinks and dinner afterward. San Diego Magazine knows how to throw a party and Larry, the manager at the new Ann Taylor store in Fashion Valley, was a pleasure to work with, along with his entire staff.

I can’t wait to see their Fall collection!

Chet the Architect

I have been to New York City several times for work, but never have I had the opportunity to enjoy the city like a tourist and visit the many wonderful museums and architecture that make the city what it is.

BlogHer takes place in NYC in just one month and I know a lot of bloggers will be interested in learning more about places to take their families, if they’re lucky enough to be able to bring the kids along.

Chet the Architect is a cute little book that was sent my way so my oldest son and I could properly review it here. We also received the pocket edition which is a fold-out booklet featuring a walking map of the museums featured in the how-to-draw activity book. My son grabbed the sketching pencil right away and started putting shapes together and drawing the museums following the step-by-step instructions.

We looked at the rest of the book and fold-out map together and immediately, I felt the energy of New York City come over me. My son is only 8 right now, but I know that when the time is right, we will head to the Big Apple and check out the tall buildings and walk around the amazing museums that we’ve been able to learn about as we follow along with Chet, the Architect in this fun, educational and interactive book.

We’re heading out on a plane trip tomorrow and this book is coming with us. It’ll keep him occupied, give us something to talk about and as he gets older, he’ll come to appreciate knowing some cool facts about New York City’s Museum Mile before he even gets there.

The 9 museums featured in these books written and illustrated by Kathryn Koller include the Museum for African Art, El Museo del Bario, Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, National Academy Museum & School, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I Did It All for the Wookie

When I was first introduced to the art of James Hance, I clicked on every image in his gallery at least twice, trying to determine which was my favorite, what piece spoke to me the most, which print belonged on the walls of our home.

Luckily, I was able to select more than one for this review because there were too many to choose from that I felt needed to belong to me. The first image that jumped out at me was the kissing couple in a Star Wars – Klimdt mash-up.

My husband is a huge fan of Star Wars and thanks to him and my oldest son, I have as well. When I got married a few years ago, I knew there were many children’s movies that he needed to see that he missed out on. The three of us watched UP last summer and I was so excited to see the Star Wars / UP print that says it all when it comes to true love and that childlike feeling of giddiness that comes over you when you fall in love.

Grover as Captain America makes us all laugh. He’s one of my youngest son’s favorite characters from Sesame Street and the fact that we all grew up with him makes it even more fun to have him hanging on the wall of the boys’ room.

Last, but not least, the Star Wars characters as young friends, much like Christopher Robin and his pals Pooh, Tigger and Piglet, fit perfectly in our home as well, since we try to live life one moment at a time and continue to honor the inner child that keeps us young at heart.

The small comic style book that was sent along, Wookie the Chew, was an added bonus in being able to review the work of James Hance. I sat and read the mini book when I first opened it. Sweet, simple and full of imagery that kept me wanting more illustrations to accompany the story, I wanted the story to continue, hoping that this was a sample chapter in a longer version of Chewy goodness yet to come.

James Hance and my good friend, Leila Miyamoto, are working on a new book, Goodnight Pond, and it looks awesome. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to review that one as well when it becomes available. In the meantime, please check out the amazing art that James has for sale on his site. The prints are very reasonably priced and make great gifts for the pop culture, art geek in your family.